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Guest Editorial: A Call for More Workers
by Ryland Utlaut

A barrel of salt. Timex watches. The “Rough Riders.”

What a combination of things! How could they be part of an ethanol magazine?

Over the course of the last twenty or thirty years, people have dreamed, invested, engineered, developed, produced, and marketed ethanol and ethanol plants. The sheer determination of those folks has led to the success of our industry.

Grandma used to say, “You don’t know someone until you’ve eaten a barrel of salt with them.” Since our beginning, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know a lot of folks working in the ethanol industry. They were and are the backbone of our “grassroots crusade”! The passage of time has allowed us to eat a lot of salt with our fellow supporters, and we have gradually gotten to the bottom of the barrel. We have had the time to “know” people, and in almost all instances, we’ve become great friends. Sometimes friends may have different opinions on issues, but the ability to continue “salting” together is a good thing.

Our industry has achieved many successes and endured many disappointments. Energy policy, tax credits, blenders credit, land use charges, imports, high input costs, RFS 1&2, bankruptcies, budget pressures, etc. – all these are issues we will continue to confront and perhaps overcome. Some issues we will champion, and some we will lose. Like the Timex watch slogan, we can “take a licking and keep on ticking” – if, if, if we work together. I sincerely believe the American Coalition for Ethanol offers us the platform from which all can work.

Our involvement in the industry is critical. As issues become tougher, we need more workers. Membership is important! ACE members come from all facets of the industry. ACE is looked upon as the strong, agriculturally based ethanol organization. Remember when our farm programs were based upon set-aside acres and then converted to direct support, no set-aside, market-based programs? We as farmers were asked to develop our own markets to meet the challenges of increased supply. We did in an extremely successful manner with the advent of ethanol. The perfect timing of increased clean energy needs with the rapid expansion of ethanol production pumped new life into rural America.

The Missouri Corn Growers have adopted one of President Theodore Roosevelt’s quotes as a banner in almost all of their correspondence. I think it challenges us to commit or recommit anew our efforts.

“Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve the conditions within his sphere.”

I hope you’ll consider and then join the American Coalition for Ethanol. I’ll bet Teddy’s Rough Riders would join.

About the Author:

Ryland Utlaut is the President and General Manager of Mid-Missouri Energy, a 50 million gallon per year farmer-owned ethanol plant in Malta Bend, Missouri. Utlaut is a founding member of MME’s board of directors and has served as its president since 2002. He has operated farms in Saline and Lafayette Counties with his brother, and has served as President and Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association.

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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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